One of the best investments you can make to improve your business’s performance is enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation. You increase efficiency and lower operational and administrative costs by providing your employees with real-time, accurate information concerning daily operations. Implementation is the strategy you adopt to fully and effectively integrate and utilize an ERP system.
- Successfully implementing an ERP system requires everyone to understand the system’s goals and program capabilities and systematically move through related functions.
- Unplanned approaches to ERP systems lead to chaos, unnecessary expenses and lost efficiency and functionality with the system.
- Clearly defining the requirements of the system enables customization and software testing to address pain points and business requirements before implementation.
Implementing an ERP solution isn’t for the faint of heart and in many cases, requires the help of IT experts. Rather than forcing a standard solution to meet your needs, Watkyn can build custom project management software for your company and improve ERP success.
What Is an ERP Implementation?
Implementation is a long-term process involving the planning, constructing and installing of an ERP solution. Because of the complexity of the ERP implementation process, it could take months or years before the solution is fully functional and complete, particularly because of the multiple business functions it addresses.
9 Steps for Successful ERP Implementation
Companies that rush into decision-making with ERP solutions have a higher likelihood of experiencing failure during the implementation process. These steps can ensure you stay on schedule and on budget with your ERP system.
1. Assign an ERP Implementation Project Manager
It’s important for everyone to be on board with the ERP solution, but you need one individual who oversees crucial decisions and remains fully informed about the entire process. This manager is a point of contact for all things regarding the implementation and is responsible for keeping the ERP project on budget and on schedule to meet the desired deadline. Good leadership is just one of the ERP success factors.
2. Identify Problems ERP System Will Solve
First, identify the business drivers and long-term goals, but then evaluate these in light of the challenges you currently face. If the current system is hindering your progress or causing a drain on the budget, these specific areas become a part of the focus of your ERP system. The system should have a holistic impact on the company if you are to get the most benefits from your ERP implementation.
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3. Develop ERP System Objectives and Goals To Address Problems
With the problems identified, the team can begin to develop clear objectives and goals to address these problems. Although you should create a clear plan, remember to remain flexible and open to change. You may find the scope of the project exceeds your budget, which may lead to revisiting certain elements of the plan.
When you are addressing the problem, your goal is to utilize the ERP software to increase productivity, lighten the load of employees, improve collaboration, and so much more. You may need to rethink your internal processes to achieve successful ERP implementations.
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4. Find the Best ERP Software for Your Business
Though there are many software options for project management, you may find a more practical and cost-effective approach to ERP using customization. Efficient workflows and relevant business processes maximize functionality, and a single purchase package doesn’t always bring the best results.
A gap analysis lets you know where shortcomings may exist with an ERP system and where customized development can better handle your business operations.
5. Convert and Migrate Company Data
During the migration phase, it’s important to look for redundant data before any importing is done. It’s also important for the data to be formatted correctly before moving from one system to another. This is another area that could require customizations or special configurations for the greatest efficiency.
6. Test the ERP System
Start the testing portion of the implementation by checking the functionality of basic features. After this, move on to integrations and system testing. Before deploying the whole system, conduct user acceptance testing.
Select several end-users across different departments to use the ERP system for an entire day, working through their normal activities. It’s better to spend time testing the system before the launch to work out any bugs than to retrace your steps and re-do the work after going live.
7. Deploy the ERP System
This is a crucial phase for successful implementation, as this is where the entire business begins to use the new ERP system. The implementation team often stays busy during this roll-out, working to answer questions, resolve issues that arise, and guide users through the new system.
There are several options for deploying the system:
- Big bang, where a complete deployment takes place concurrently
- Phased development, where modules or processes are prioritized and introduced in stages
- Parallel deployment, where the new system and legacy system are run concurrently to ensure complete functionality of the new ERP before retiring the old system
Although the big bang approach is cost-effective, it carries a high level of risk and the most difficult learning curve. Phased deployment is time-consuming but minimizes risk, while parallel deployment minimizes risk but is more expensive.
8. Provide ERP Employee Training
Employees need complete training when configuration and deployment are complete. Invest in individual and group training sessions, taking as much time as needed to maximize the potential of the software.
9. Set Up Ongoing ERP Support
Even after successful ERP implementation, be sure to establish ongoing support. Work with your ERP manager to evaluate opportunities for improvements as users grow accustomed to the system. Update parts or add new customizations, conduct refresher training or rework procedures to enhance efficiency.
Build the Perfect ERP System for Successful ERP Implementation
With Watkyn, you can achieve successful ERP implementation more quickly through a customized ERP software build. Don’t force your company to fit into a pre-packaged mold of options. Let our team create a project management system to suit your operations and business goals.